Feed aggregator

  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.

Covert channel in Apple’s M1 is mostly harmless, but it sure is interesting

ArsTechnica - Fri, 05/28/2021 - 5:15am
Logo for Apple's M1 line.

Enlarge (credit: Apple)

Apple's new M1 CPU has a flaw that creates a covert channel that two or more malicious apps—already installed—can use to transmit information to each other, a developer has found.

The surreptitious communication can occur without using computer memory, sockets, files, or any other operating system feature, developer Hector Martin said. The channel can bridge processes running as different users and under different privilege levels. These characteristics allow for the apps to exchange data in a way that can't be detected—or at least without specialized equipment.

Technically, it’s a vulnerability but...

Martin said that the flaw is mainly harmless because it can't be used to infect a Mac and it can't be used by exploits or malware to steal or tamper with data stored on a machine. Rather, the flaw can be abused only by two or more malicious apps that have already been installed on a Mac through means unrelated to the M1 flaw.

Read 14 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Andy Weir’s Project Hail Mary and the soft, squishy science of language

ArsTechnica - Fri, 05/28/2021 - 4:30am
Artist's impression of either understanding being achieved or intergalactic war being incited, I'm not sure which.

Enlarge / Artist's impression of either understanding being achieved or intergalactic war being incited, I'm not sure which. (credit: Aurich Lawson | Getty Images)

Andy Weir's latest, Project Hail Mary, is a good book that you'll almost certainly enjoy if you enjoyed Weir's freshman novel The Martian. It's another tale of solving problems with science, as a lone human named Ryland Grace and a lone alien named Rocky must save our stellar neighborhood from a star-eating parasite called "Astrophage." PHM is a buddy movie in space in a way that The Martian didn't get to be, and the interaction between Grace and Rocky is the biggest reason to read the book. The pair makes a hell of a problem-solving team, jazz hands and fist bumps and all.

<em>Project Hail Mary</em> product image
Project Hail Mary
(Ars Technica may earn compensation for sales from links on this post through affiliate programs.)
But the relative ease with which Grace and Rocky understand each other got me thinking about the real-world issues that might arise when two beings from vastly different evolutionary backgrounds try to communicate. PHM's otherwise solid commitment to science leans a bit here on what we might call the "anthropic principle of science fiction," after the more well-known general anthropic principle. To wit: Rocky and Grace can communicate well with each other because it serves the story, and if they couldn't, the book would be shorter and less interesting.

I get it—that's how storytelling works. I don't want to sound like a bitter basement-dwelling critic throwing shade at a bestselling science fiction author. But PHM is like The Martian in that it's about solving problems realistically. From my nerd basement throne, it feels like the softer sciences of linguistics and anthropology (or perhaps xenolinguistics and xenoanthropology) don't get the same stage time as their more STEM-y counterparts like physics and relativity.

Read 59 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Rocket Report: Russia plans nuclear space tug, Falcon Heavy launch delays

ArsTechnica - Fri, 05/28/2021 - 4:00am
The Falcon 9 rocket launches its 100th consecutive, successful flight on Wednesday.

Enlarge / The Falcon 9 rocket launches its 100th consecutive, successful flight on Wednesday. (credit: Trevor Mahlmann / Ars Technica)

Welcome to Edition 3.46 of the Rocket Report! This week we have a mix of milestones to report for the Federal Aviation Administration and SpaceX, some launch delays, and as usual, some quirky news. Next week, the newsletter turns 4 years old—hard to believe I've been at this so long.

As always, we welcome reader submissions, and if you don't want to miss an issue, please subscribe using the box below (the form will not appear on AMP-enabled versions of the site). Each report will include information on small-, medium-, and heavy-lift rockets as well as a quick look ahead at the next three launches on the calendar.

Virgin Galactic gets back into space. On Saturday, Virgin Galactic's VSS Unity spacecraft flew above 80 km for the third time, completing a much-anticipated return to space following more than two years of downtime. The flight, which crested at an altitude of 89.2 km, was piloted by CJ Sturckow and Dave Mackay, Ars reports. The flight was significant for Virgin Galactic, as the last time VSS Unity successfully carried out a powered spaceflight was February 2019.

Read 26 remaining paragraphs | Comments

SolarWinds hackers are back with a new mass campaign, Microsoft says

ArsTechnica - Fri, 05/28/2021 - 1:15am
SolarWinds hackers are back with a new mass campaign, Microsoft says

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images)

The Kremlin-backed hackers who targeted SolarWinds customers in a supply chain attack have been caught conducting a malicious email campaign that delivered malware-laced links to 150 government agencies, research institutions and other organizations in the US and 23 other countries, Microsoft said.

The hackers, belonging to Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service, first managed to compromise an account belonging to USAID, a US government agency that administers civilian foreign aid and development assistance. With control of the agency’s account for online marketing company Constant Contact, the hackers had the ability to send emails that appeared to use addresses known to belong to the US agency.

Nobelium goes native

“From there, the actor was able to distribute phishing emails that looked authentic but included a link that, when clicked, inserted a malicious file used to distribute a backdoor we call NativeZone,” Microsoft Vice President of Customer Security and Trust Tom Burt wrote in a post published on Thursday evening. “This backdoor could enable a wide range of activities from stealing data to infecting other computers on a network.”

Read 17 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Ohio lawmakers want to abolish vaccine requirements—all vaccine requirements

ArsTechnica - Thu, 05/27/2021 - 4:45pm
A child with measles.

Enlarge / A child with measles. (credit: Greene, Charles Lyman)

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s “Vax-a-Million” program began Wednesday, running the first of five $1-million weekly lottery drawings open to residents who have been vaccinated. The effort is one of many incentive programs across the country aimed at getting vaccine-hesitant groups to roll up their sleeves, get vaccinated against the deadly coronavirus, and help end the pandemic.

But, while the lottery has already been hailed as a success in boosting vaccination numbers, conservative lawmakers in the Buckeye State appear to be diligently working toward reversing that trend.

Lawmakers are working on legislation to call off the lottery immediately. They’re also trying to head off any plans for “vaccine passports.” And last month, they introduced a sweeping anti-vaccination bill that would essentially demolish public health and vaccination requirements in the state—and not just requirements for COVID-19 vaccines—requirements for any vaccine.

Read 12 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Horizon Forbidden West gameplay reveal: Swimming with tropical robo-saurs

ArsTechnica - Thu, 05/27/2021 - 3:11pm

Aloy, the braided-hair hero of Sony's 2017 smash Horizon Zero Dawn, is set to return to consoles later this year in the series' first sequel, and on Thursday, we finally learned how that sequel video game will look.

On the cusp of 2021's kinda-sorta virtualized E3, creator Guerrilla Games premiered an uninterrupted, 14-minute gameplay sequence from this year's upcoming (and undated) Horizon Forbidden West. The sequence centers on an early-game mission to save a captured ally, and it has all the hallmarks of a flashy press conference reveal: familiar characters, slow-motion pans over insane-looking robot monsters, and a conveniently linear path full of perfectly placed mid-battle dialogue.

Performance savings via new hairdo?

Still, what we saw actually looks like a real-deal, Horizon-branded video game—and arguably one that will neatly scale to Sony's past-gen PlayStation 4 console, since it leans less on flashy new tech like ray tracing or uninterrupted landscapes. This gameplay reveal was advertised as running on real PlayStation 5 hardware, however, so exactly how the game will downscale to base PS4 consoles remains to be seen. (Lower frame rates? Fewer water effects? Aloy's signature braids chopped off and replaced with a buzz cut?)

Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

More people are buying wearables than ever before—and Apple is in the lead

ArsTechnica - Thu, 05/27/2021 - 1:40pm
The Apple Watch Series 6.

Enlarge / The Apple Watch Series 6. (credit: Corey Gaskin)

The wearables category of consumer devices—which includes smartwatches, fitness trackers, and augmented reality glasses—shipped more than 100 million units in the first quarter for the first time, according to research firm IDC. Q2 2021 saw a 34.4 percent increase in sales over the same quarter in 2020.

To be clear: wearables have sold that many (and more) units in a quarter before, but never in the first quarter, which tends to be a slow period following a spree of holiday-related buying in Q4.

For the past several years, wearables like the Fitbit Versa have made up one of the fastest-growing categories of personal electronics, but the devices still lag far behind smartphones in terms of total units moved each quarter or year.

Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Charter charges more money for slower Internet on streets with no competition

ArsTechnica - Thu, 05/27/2021 - 1:32pm
A Charter Spectrum service truck on a snowy street.

Enlarge / A Charter Spectrum service truck in McKinney, Texas, on Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021. (credit: Getty Images | Bloomberg)

It's no surprise that cable companies charge lower prices for broadband when they face competition from fiber-to-the-home services. But an article yesterday by Stop the Cap provides a good example of how dramatically promotional prices for Charter's Spectrum Internet service can vary from one street to the next.

In this example, Charter charges $20 more per month for slower speeds on the street where it faces no serious competition. When customers in two areas purchase the same speeds, the customer on the street without competition could have to pay $40 more per month and would have their promotional rates expire after only one year instead of two.

Stop the Cap said it examined promotional offers to new customers in the metro Rochester, New York, market, "where Spectrum faces token competition from Frontier's slow speed DSL service" and more robust competition in limited areas from Greenlight Networks' fiber service. Greenlight fiber is available in 23 percent of Rochester, while Charter cable is available to homes throughout the city, according to BroadbandNow. Greenlight prices start at $50 per month for 500Mbps.

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Sony’s “Days of Play” sale discounts a bunch of PS4 and PS5 exclusives

ArsTechnica - Thu, 05/27/2021 - 1:08pm
Sony’s “Days of Play” sale discounts a bunch of PS4 and PS5 exclusives

Enlarge (credit: Ars Technica)

With the upcoming virtual E3 set to unveil several new video games, now is a good time to pick up plenty of older titles on the cheap. Less than a week after the Dealmaster highlighted Epic's PC gaming "Mega Sale," today's Dealmaster puts the spotlight on Sony, which kicked off its annual "Days of Play" sale earlier this week, bringing a range of noteworthy deals on PS4 and PS5 games, including several exclusives, at various retailers.

If you're a PlayStation owner looking for something to play during the relatively slow summer release schedule, we've pored over the offers and picked out a few highlights below. Among the Ars-approved notables is the samurai action game Ghost of Tsushima, which is down to $40, tying the lowest price we've tracked. Similarly, the more polarizing but recently-updated-for-PS5 zombie drama The Last of Us Part II is down to a joint-low of $30. Dedicated PS5 games we like such as the Demon's Souls remake and Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales have received rare discounts as well, and a number of older PS4 classics like God of WarUncharted 4, and Bloodborne are available for $10.

Sony says the sale will last until June 9. If your gaming backlog is big enough as it is, though, our deals roundup has plenty of offers, including good prices on Apple's latest MacBook Air, a few well-reviewed monitors, smart thermostats, and much more. Have a look at the full selection below.

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PlayStation users left out of Borderlands 3 cross-platform features

ArsTechnica - Thu, 05/27/2021 - 12:10pm

Borderlands 3 players on Xbox consoles, Windows, Stadia, and the Mac will soon be able to band together across platforms thanks to a coming cross-play update. But players on the PS4 and PS5 will be left out of that group and will be forced to play only with other users on the PlayStation Network.

Gearbox co-founder and CEO Randy Pitchford discussed the situation in a tweet Thursday morning, saying that "an update for Borderlands 3 has been prepared for release that includes full cross-play support across all platforms" but that "for certification, we have been required by the publisher [presumably Take Two] to remove cross-play support for PlayStation consoles."

Sony, you may remember, consistently blocked cross-platform capabilities on PlayStation consoles for years before finally opening up its walled garden to cross-platform play in late 2018. Even after that, though, some developers publicly accused Sony of "playing favorites" regarding which specific games were allowed to use the feature.

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Downloading Ubuntu via BitTorrent gets Comcast customer a DMCA warning

ArsTechnica - Thu, 05/27/2021 - 10:53am

This week, Redditor u/NateNate60 got a nasty surprise in his inbox—a DMCA infringement warning from his ISP, Comcast Xfinity. The notice warned him that Comcast had "received a notification by a copyright owner, or its authorized agent, reporting an alleged infringement of one or more copyrighted works."

The strange thing about this warning was the "infringed work" in question: Ubuntu 20.04, which is free to redistribute by any means desired. Adding insult to injury, the hash listed on the notice is the same one associated with Canonical's own torrent for Ubuntu 20.04.2—u/NateNate60 was getting dinged for torrenting an unmodified copy of an open source operating system.

DMCA, P2P, and you

Typically, DMCA infringement warnings are sent as a result of an ISP customer using BitTorrent to acquire media or software illicitly. While the customer is attached to the swarm, their public IP address is advertised—this allows other members of the swarm to request pieces of the files being torrented from that user.

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Google’s 80-acre megacampus will take over a chunk of San Jose

ArsTechnica - Thu, 05/27/2021 - 10:29am

Google has gotten approval to build a "multi-billion dollar megacampus" in San Jose, California, just 10 miles away from the other giant campus the company is building in Mountain View. CNBC reports that city officials approved Google's "Downtown West" project on Tuesday night.

Google's sales pitch describes the development as a "mixed-use urban destination" built around the Diridon Station transit hub. When the project is completed, Google will own an 80-acre chunk of land that will have 7.3 million square feet of office space, 4,000 housing units, 15 acres of "parks, plazas, and green space," and 500,000 square feet dedicated to "retail, cultural, arts, education, hotels and more." One thousand of the 4,000 houses will be designated as "affordable" housing. Google’s San Jose development director, Alexa Aren, described the project as “much less the corporate campus” and more like “a resilient neighborhood.” It sounds like it's essentially going to be a Google Town that employees can live and work in.

The campus has been in the works for four years. Google came up against opposition from Santa Clara County, which was concerned about building heights, and from NHL team the San Jose Sharks, whose SAP Center is about to be engulfed in Google's construction project. The Sharks were concerned about parking, but Google and the team worked out a deal just before the campus was approved. Santa Clara was overruled by the city council's unanimous vote. Concern about building heights is pretty much the cause of all the housing problems in Silicon Valley. As the world's biggest tech hub, the area could support giant skyscrapers, but local politics prevent them from being built. San Jose is the most populous city in the US with no buildings of 300 feet (91 m) or higher. The city's tallest building, "The 88," only has 23 floors.

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Big Oil finds it hard to ignore pollution amid investor, court pressure

ArsTechnica - Thu, 05/27/2021 - 9:14am
What comes up might go back down.

What comes up might go back down. (credit: Pete Markham)

Yesterday was a bad day to be an oil company.

First, a court in the Netherlands ruled that Royal Dutch Shell needs to slash its emissions more than it had planned in order to meet Paris Agreement targets. The court ordered the oil supermajor to cut carbon pollution by 45 percent by the end of the decade.

Next, shareholders of ExxonMobil elected at least two board candidates—and possibly a third—put forth by activist investors who want the company to rein in its sprawling oil and gas operations and invest more in clean energy.

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Announcement: Ars is hiring two reporters

ArsTechnica - Thu, 05/27/2021 - 9:12am
 Ars is hiring two reporters

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson | Getty Images)

We're excited to announce that Ars is hiring! We need a pair of brilliant reporters, one to cover Consumer Technology and the other to report on Innovation. Both are senior roles requiring experience, demonstrated skills, and maybe a battle scar or two. Also, you must be eligible to work in the United States, and you must be comfortable working from home, as these are remote positions.

To apply, please use the links below. All applications must go through the Condé Nast Careers website, but feel free to email us at jobs@arstechnica.com if you have specific questions.

Senior Technology Reporter, Consumer Technology

The role will work with the Ars Technica team to produce daily content, including informed news and analysis, in the consumer technology field. We’re looking for a subject matter expert in one or more of the following areas:

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Wolves create a “landscape of fear,” slowing deer-car collisions

ArsTechnica - Thu, 05/27/2021 - 8:47am
Image of two wolves.

Enlarge (credit: KENZO TRIBOUILLARD / Getty images)

Deer don't seem to understand that large, fast-moving vehicles can lead to their untimely demise. According to the Insurance Information Institute, there were 1.9 million animal (not just deer) collision claims in the US between July 2019 and the end of June 2020.

The ungulates seem to be capable of recognizing other threats, though. Deer understand that they should steer clear of wolves. And new research suggests that regions with wolves tend to have a markedly lower rate of deer-automobile collisions, as the predators scare their prey away from roadways. According to the study's researchers, this indirect benefit of managing wolves in a region can save humans a lot of money.

The research, which focuses on counties in the Great Lakes region, began in 2013. Grey wolves were delisted from the Endangered Species Act in the Great Lakes region in 2012 as their population grew, but this reprieve was short-lived, as hunting caused the species to be re-listed in the area only around a year later.

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We got our first ride in the electric Lucid Air sedan

ArsTechnica - Thu, 05/27/2021 - 5:10am
Volkswagen provided flights to Jacksonville and three nights in a hotel so we could attend the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance. Ars does not accept paid editorial content.

Back in 2017, I got my first face-to-face encounter with a Lucid Air when the startup electric vehicle-maker Lucid brought one of its early prototypes to Washington, DC. Lucid's EV combined distinctive styling with some innovative packaging, and the company's technical team lead was previously the Tesla Model S' chief engineer.

Lucid's production timeline slipped a bit from its original plan—investors are much less reticent about putting their money into EV startups than they were in 2017—but the company is on track to begin deliveries of the Air later this year. And on Sunday, I was fortunate enough to go for a ride in one of Lucid's current prototypes to see how things have changed.

From the outside, the Air looks like little else on the market. It sports a smooth shape, with a relatively long hood and a short trunk, accented by the polished aluminum pillars that frame the glasshouse. Superficially, it looks similar to when I first saw it, but many of the details have changed along the way to produce what may well be a class-leading drag coefficient of just 0.21.

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Sony lists PC version of Uncharted 4 in investor report

ArsTechnica - Wed, 05/26/2021 - 8:20pm

A PC port of 2016 PS4 exclusive Uncharted 4: A Thief's End will be coming sometime in the future. That's according to a Game & Network Services presentation made as part of Sony's Investor Relations Day 2021. Uncharted 4 is listed in that presentation deck under the heading "more PC releases planned," alongside Days Gone, which launched on PC this month.

On the very same slide, Sony trumpeted the success of another recent PC port of a former PlayStation exclusive, Horizon: Zero Dawn. Despite some iffy performance issues at launch, that port had a 250 percent return on investment through March 2021, according to the presentation (i.e. it earned back its porting budget and an additional 2.5 times that amount). That's not too surprising, considering previous reports that the PC port sold over 700,000 units in its launch month last August.

Last year, Sony said in a corporate report that it "will explore expanding our first-party titles to the PC platform, in order to promote further growth in our profitability." And PlayStation boss Jim Ryan told GQ in February that more games would be coming to PC "to expose those great games to a wider audience and recognize the economics of game development... also, our ease of making [games] available to non-console owners has grown. So it’s a fairly straightforward decision for us to make."

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Scientists induced hallucinations in mice to learn more about human psychosis

ArsTechnica - Wed, 05/26/2021 - 4:02pm
A computer game that induces mice to experience hallucination-like events could be a key to understanding the neurobiological roots of psychosis, according to a study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Enlarge / A computer game that induces mice to experience hallucination-like events could be a key to understanding the neurobiological roots of psychosis, according to a study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. (credit: J. Kuhl)

People suffering from psychotic episodes often experience both visual and aural hallucinations, due in part to the neurochemical dopamine; antipsychotics block dopamine receptors in the brain. But little is known about precisely how brain circuits change in response to elevated dopamine levels. The humble mouse might be able to help. An increase in dopamine in the brain can trigger auditory hallucinations in mice, according to a recent paper published in the journal Science—a surprising link between how human and mouse minds malfunction.

While the very notion of hallucinating mice might strike some as amusing, co-author Adam Kepecs of the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis emphasizes that it is not a joke and that mouse studies really can shed light on human psychosis. "It's so easy to accept the argument that psychosis is a fundamentally human thing and say, 'Forget about mice'," he said. "But right now, the prognosis for psychotic patients has not substantially improved over the past decades, and that's because we don't really understand the neurobiology of the disease."

Kepecs' lab has focused largely on developing a more complete understanding of confidence in rats by studying their neurocircuitry, with a long-term goal of shedding light on self-reported confidence in humans. Lead author Katharina Schmack is a psychiatrist at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York who studies psychosis and schizophrenia. The two authors saw an opportunity for an interdisciplinary study of psychotic disorders in animals.

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Windows 10 21H1 available now, improves document load times

ArsTechnica - Wed, 05/26/2021 - 2:56pm
//www.microsoft.com/software-download/windows10">downloading</a> and running the Media Creation Tool.

Enlarge / If you're the itchy type and 21H1 isn't showing up in Windows Update for you yet, you can force the issue by downloading and running the Media Creation Tool. (credit: Jim Salter)

The May 2021 update to Windows 10 is here—although most users likely won't notice. The new version of Windows 10 is delivered via Windows Update, just like the October 2020 version was, and it's being rolled out in staggered intervals to groups of users. (We saw it available immediately while manually checking Windows Update in a Windows 10 Pro VM today.)

The new update offers three new user-facing features—improved Windows Hello support for systems with multiple cameras, an improved version of Windows Defender Application Guard, and improvements to the Group Policy Service that allow faster group policy updates for remote workers.

Windows Hello

Windows Hello is Microsoft's facial-recognition biometric authentication system—on machines with cameras, it allows the user to unlock the system by looking into the camera rather than typing in a password or swiping a fingerprint. Facial recognition isn't a particularly secure unlock method—a moderately knowledgeable attacker can frequently defeat it with a photograph—but for most users in relatively low-security environments, it's good enough.

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These offline, disc-based games require an online check-in on Xbox Series X

ArsTechnica - Wed, 05/26/2021 - 2:23pm

Disc-based Xbox One games and many cross-generational discs that rely on "Smart Delivery" require an online connection to play on the Xbox Series X, limiting the system's ballyhooed backward compatibility. This limitation, which has been present since the console launched last year, was recently highlighted in a video by ModernVintageGaming and was confirmed in testing by Ars Technica.

What’s happening here?

When you put an Xbox One disc in the Xbox Series X, the system copies the data off the disc and onto the internal hard drive, mirroring what happens if you put the disc into an Xbox One. But if the Series X isn't connected to the Internet, trying to load that disc-based copy from the hard drive for the first time results in an error message: "This game isn't ready yet. Go online to finish installing it."

When inserted into an Xbox One, that same disc can be copied to the hard drive and loaded, even if the system is completely offline (provided the disc remains in the drive in all cases).

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